BEIJING, Jan. 8, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — A news report from China.org.cn on Beijing Central Axis:
The Beijing central axis is located in the center of the old city of Beijing, stretching from Yongdingmen in the south to the Bell and Drum Tower in the north, with a total length of 7.8 kilometers. Over seven centuries, the history of the old city of Beijing has been continuously accumulated and superimposed. The Beijing central axis follows the principle of “imitating heaven and conforming to the earth”, adheres to the concept of “surrounded by mountains and embraced by water”, and continuously influences the urban development through the historical evolution of the city, showing the lasting vitality of the traditional Chinese planning concept.
Qiu Zheng, Director of Beijing Central Axis Culture Institute, introduced that the Beijing central axis runs from north to south, consisting of 15 sites such as Yongdingmen, Temple of Heaven, Imperial Palace, Bell and Drum Tower. Most of them are on the central axis, but the Temple of Heaven and the Altar of Agriculture, the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the Altar of the Land and Grain, which are not on the central axis, but close to the east and west sides of the central axis. They exist because of the central axis, they are an important part of the central axis.
Recently, Yovana, a student from Serbia, came to the Temple of Heaven with several expert teachers from China to learn more about the Beijing central axis. The Temple of Heaven is a representative building of ancient Chinese sacrificial rites, where the emperor held ceremonies to worship the heaven. As the ancient saying goes, “The great affairs of the state are in sacrifice and war.” Sacrifice is an important part of the ancient Chinese ritual tradition, and the Temple of Heaven is the largest existing ancient sacrificial building complex in China.
In the Circular Mound Altar, Qiu Wen, Member of Beijing Historical Research Society, took Yovana to appreciate the culture of the Temple of Heaven. Qiu Wen said, the ancient royal sacrifice was divided into different levels in ancient China. The highest level of sacrifice was the Grand Sacrifice, the Temple of Heaven, the Altar of Earth and the Imperial Ancestral Temple are the place of the Grand Sacrifice. Such as the Temple of Heaven is the place to worship the heaven, and the object of sacrifice is the Emperor of Heaven. Worshiping the heaven is an important manifestation of the ancient “divine right of kings” thought, indicating that the emperor was ordained by heaven and had a lofty status. The second is the Middle Sacrifice, and the Altar of Sun and the Altar of Moon are the places for the Middle Sacrifice. The third is the Small Sacrifice, which is to sacrifice the wind, rain, thunder and lightning.
Qiu Wen and Yovana walked and visited, and came to the Danbi Bridge. Qiu Wen continued to introduce that the purpose of the Temple of Heaven’s architecture and landscape design is to create a unique experience of the palace in the sky, the sacrificial buildings are mostly built on high platforms. The Danbi Bridge, which is several meters above the ground on the north-south axis, is to connect the main sacrificial buildings, from south to north, the height gradually increases, forming a visual effect of constantly approaching the sky. The outer altar is wide and planted with trees, which is to create a vast and solemn sacrificial atmosphere.
Then Yovana and Wu Wenxu, President of Beijing Tour Guide Association came to the Seventy-two Corridor. Wu Wenxu said, when Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty built the Temple of Heaven, the Temple of Heaven was still outside the city, and in order to protect the emperor’s safety in the Temple of Heaven, two imperial canals were built inside and outside the fasting palace. There are also two layers of palace walls, the outer layer is called the brick wall, and the inner city is called the purple wall. There are 167 corridors around the purple wall, which are the places where the eight-banner soldiers guarding the fasting palace shelter from the wind and rain. There are deep pools outside the corridor, and the whole fasting palace is as solid as a golden soup because of their existence. In addition to the Temple of Heaven, there are fasting palaces in the Altar of Earth, the Altar of Agriculture, and the Forbidden City, but the fasting palace of the Temple of Heaven has the longest history, the largest scale, and the most magnificent architecture. It is the place where the emperor meditated and introspected, and reviewed his gains and losses before worshiping the heaven. Therefore, the fasting palace of the Temple of Heaven was used most frequently by the emperors of the past dynasties.
After listening to the explanation of several expert teachers from China, Yovana realized that as a thousand-year-old capital, Beijing has always advocated civilized etiquette and spared no effort to inherit the culture of rites and music. She understood that China’s sacrificial culture is not just one-sided text, which contains the ancient Chinese observation and association of heaven and earth, nature, and the universe. “China’s sacrificial culture is really profound!” She couldn’t help but sigh.
Witness to the Cultural Development of Beijing @Beijing Central Axis
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/witness-to-the-cultural-development-of-beijing-beijing-central-axis-302027923.html
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